For Turlock High's Mitchell Pryschuk baseball is not just a game, it is a way of life.
Pryschuk, who recently signed his letter of intent to attend University Antelope Valley after receiving a baseball scholarship, made his childhood dream a reality officially on Wednesday.
“I decided on Antelope Valley not just based on the excellent baseball program they have now and growing, but based on their academic requirements and what they had to offer,” said Pryschuk.
Antelope Valley is a private, for-profit university in Lancaster, a city in Southern California.
“It's a great learning environment and also the town is great, plus the school is wonderful to be around,” said Pryschuk. “I can't be more thrilled about the opportunity.”
Pryschuk recalled his earliest of years on the baseball diamond or in the dugout and gives much of the praise to his father for his love of the sport.
“My father gave me a baseball when I was 4 and I saw my first baseball game when I was 5,” he said. “My father played and I watched every game when he coached...I started really gaining a passion and love for a sport. He showed me the dedication and the love for the sport as it was meant to be seen.”
Pryschuk also gives credit to his family and friends for always supporting his dream and allowing it to become a reality.
“Baseball to me is the same as having another family member, it's part of me of where I can allow myself to use the tools taught to me and apply them to the sport I love dearly,” said Pryschuk.
Pryschuk is no stranger to athletic success. He was part of a Turlock Bulldog team that won two league titles—in two sports—baseball and basketball.
During the fall, Pryschuk played in 24 of the Bulldogs' 29 games during the basketball season as they went 8-2 in the Central California Conference and made the postseason.
After a successful basketball campaign, Pryschuk went right back into the grind and was one of the steady leaders for this year's Turlock baseball team, and as the leadoff hitter in multiple games.
The Bulldogs amassed a 13-2 CCC record and clinched league as well as a postseason berth.
Pryschuk batted .286 for the year in 24 games and also tallied a home-run and finished the regular season with 11 RBI on 18 hits and had an on-base percentage of .372 and slugging percentage of .380. His OPS was .753 and he was 2 for 2 in stolen base attempts and committed only 2 errors all year.
It wasn't always a smooth journey for Pryschuk, who had to prove to himself and coaches that he had the essential tools and was capable of something more.
Last summer, Pryschuk competed for the Central Valley Marlins team and he praises that experience for giving him a unique perspective on the game and his future.
“That gave me confidence to really show what I can be and what talents I bring to the table. Being part of that team it really gave me an insight on what family/team is really like,” said Pryschuk. “Being with the Marlins really prepared me for the work I can see in the future.”
Now, Pryschuk is ready for the next step in his life and is ready to take on anything that comes his way.
“My goals while playing college baseball is to get that experience of playing with 20-plus other tremendous athletes on a baseball field and playing the best of our ability,” he added. “I would love to thank everyone who believed in me, cared for me, loved me. I appreciate the love and I hope to make each and every one of you proud, playing the sport I love.”